I cannot say enough good things about Spritz Spizzicheria in Ht Hawthorn at the Hawaiian’s Mezz Shopping Complex. It has proven to be a very popular addition to the neighbourhood and is honestly like having a little piece of Italy right along Scarborough Beach Road.
The staff are all Italian natives and are complete charmers, you can really imagine you are a world away. With the pizza oven at the back of the restaurant, the place always smells so enticing. All heady deliciousness with baking pizzas and the aroma of ripe tomatoes and garlic filling the air.
We’ve been many times now, always for lunch on a weekend and it’s fair to say that while this place is a few suburbs from home we’ve claimed it as our local. I’ve started each visit with an Aperol Spritz, which for $15 is prepared at your table with a delicious dollop of grapefruit sorbet and the dramatic flourish from the soda bottle. Prego!
Along side your spritz arrives a paddle with a selection of nibbles, all the classics – prosciutto (cured in house!), cheese, olives – just to kick start taste buds into action (if they weren’t already from the delicious aromas of the cooking pizza). They are really good Aperol Spritz too, perfectly refreshing in all their bitter orange loveliness. Dangerously easy drinking too!
The menu has a lot of tasty options, split into clear sections (starters, pizzas, pasta, mains, etc) and on each visit we’ve opted to share a pizza for our entree and then go for a mains each. We are big eaters on occasion and those occasions are often when we visit Spritz. So what have we tried….
– Arancini, 3 pieces ($16.50) and 5 pieces ($21.00) – that sauce! So much depth of flavour!! If you fancy a tasty, rice filled starter then this is the one for you. And you should also ask for bread because none of that sauce should be left behind! Or at the very least work with a high sauce to arancini ratio.
Over to pizzas…
– Caprese, tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, olives, cherry tomatoes, basil and oregano ($26) – a classic. Fresh mozzarella and basil on a crisp base with richly flavoured tomato sauce. Simple flavours done exceptionally well. And I also love that they offer a bowl of fresh chilli on the side. Just the right amount of heat and a tasty addition to this pizza.
– Quattro Stagioni, tomato sauce, mozzarella, ham, mushrooms, artichokes and fresh Italian salsiccia ($24.50) – four ingredients destined to hang out happily together on a pizza. Artichoke isn’t an ingredient I eat often and not because I don’t enjoy it just isn’t in frequent rotation when I cook. It’s zesty marinated flavour paired so well with the earthy mushroom, and meaty goodness from the ham and sausage combo. As with the caprese the base was just perfect, so light and crispy.
– Gamberi, mozzarella, caramelised apple, garlic prawns and fresh capsicum ($28): this was GG’s boldest choice as the combination of garlic prawns, caramelised Apple and fresh capsicum was definitely new to us, but we had full confidence in their pizza making abilities and so decided to give this one a go. From the first bite there were no regrets. Those big plump prawns were amazing and yes all those flavours do worth well together, with the fresh capsicum adding a pleasant crunch.
– Ortolana, tomato sauce, mozzarella, grilled zucchini and eggplant, capsicum and cherry tomatoes ($25) – I think the fact we ordered a vegetarian pizza speaks volumes about the confidence we have for the overall yumness (that’s a word right?) of Spritz because we are a meat loving people. The veggies were all full of flavour and further enhanced by a few spoonfuls of their punchy fresh chilli blend. And it is a seriously good base.
– Rotolino della casa (rolled), tomato sauce, mozzarella, speck, Grana Padano and truffle cream ($21) – I’ve never tried a rolled pizza before but wow, it’s quite the treat. It seals in all the flavour, into a crisp pizza shell and there’s such an indulgent intensity from truffle cream and the generous amount of Grana Padano cheese. It was cut into five chucky slices and I don’t know if I could finish a whole one by myself, but shared in a group it is perfect as you each get a piece to try. Something different and something entirely yum!
On the pasta front we’ve tried
– Fettuccine ai Fruitti di Mare, homemade fettuccine with mixed seafood in tomato, garlic and chilli sauce ($28): probably the first time GG had ever ordered and he thoroughly enjoyed it. Beautiful fresh seafood and perfect al denote ribbons of fettuccine. The light tomato sauce bringing it all together.
– Gnocchi alla Sorrentina, baked, fresh fior di latte, sugo di mamma and fresh basil ($22): I am hard pressed to go past gnocchi when I see it on a menu and these perfect, soft little pillows are a delight and slathered in just the right amount of tomatoey goodness from the sugo di mamma.
– Slow Braised Beef Cheek Ravioli, mild, classic arrabiatia (garlic, chilli passata) ($25) – this is my current favourite from their pasta menu. The beef cheek has been cooked, slow and low and is bathed in a delicious tomato sauce with just the right amount of chilli spice. Al dente pasta that has the right amount of chew and this was just right. The tender meat, homemade pasta and sauce that you wouldn’t want to leave a drop of behind makes for an amazing meal. First visit, looking for pasta? Go for this.
– Five cheese ravioli, with crispy smoked pancetta, confit cherry tomatoes and sugo di mamma ($24.50): I love cheese, and it’s a the more the merrier situation and this pasta dish is very pleasant, but it can be fairly punchy on the blue cheese front. I enjoyed it, but did find it to be quite rich. Such pretty little parcels though.
– Veal, mushroom and truffle oil agnolotti, sage butter and cream ($25): this dish was heavenly. A very close second favourite, because any day of the week I’m a massive fan of a creamy, decadent pasta dish such as this and it is all the more delicious with the generous sprinkling of Parmesan on top. Definitely one for you to try.
Now my GG is partial to a meat dish and so he’s worked his way through that part of the menu. Here’s the ones that he has enjoyed:
– Scotch fillet steak with chips served with a choice of green peppercorn or mushroom sauce ($32): I got to try some of this steak, cooked a pleasing medium rare, and it had a beautiful, lightly charred flavour. I also thought the pepper sauce was the perfect addition and made for a luxurious dipping sauce for the chips.
– Chicken Parmigiana with Spaghetti Napolitana ($28): this is a an ultimate chicken and pasta combination. Will you just look at this mountain of spag! And it was quite the slab of chook too, well crumbed and with a nice amount of sauce. Again, I got to give it a taste, I’m lucky my GG is a sharer. It was just lovely to spin a fork full or two of tomatoey spaghetti, but I think I’d be hard pressed to finish a whole plate myself given the ample size, but I enjoyed given it a whirl for sure.
– Veal Medallions with chips served in Marsala sauce ($28): Mmm this dish was a real stand out for me. The marsala sauce was delicious, very flavoursome and lovingly coating the tender pieces of veal. This was my favourite on the meat front of what we’d tried…. and can’t go past some good chips.
There’s only been visit when we’ve actually had room for dessert….. mainly because we tend to max out on pizza and pasta, but I’m glad we finally tried it. The options for dessert are just one thing, gelato. Spritz’s gelato store is next door, Affogato Gelateria so you pick a flavour and they’ll bring it to the restaurant side for you. There is a wide range of flavours available and on this visit my heart belonged to tiramisu. So good! I look forward to trying out them all!
I’m such a fan of this place! The lovely staff are all super friendly and very efficient, plus the place has a really welcoming and lively feel to it. Prices are reasonable and the quality of the food is very high. Honestly I can’t wait to head back again soon and I’m sure I will!
Gratzi Spritz – Bellissimo!